No Moss Studios is on a bit of a high coming off of PAX. We showcased five games, four of which we released in the four months since our studio was founded. 4 games in 4 months. It has a pretty nice ring to it, but for a company with such strong roots in Agile development and innovation, we feel like we can do better.
So, for a number of reasons (which I’ll get into below), we’re calling a shot. No Moss Studios is going to make, market and release six games over the next six weeks. These will all be soulful, complete games, that we will be selling. For money.
We realise this is a bit of a crazy idea, and we’re not sure whether any studio has done this before. But, we’re pretty excited about it. We like pushing the studio to new heights, and so we’re giving ourselves a challenge to rise to, to test new products, and learn along the way.
So, let’s outline exactly what we’ll be doing. We’ll be splitting the studio into small cells, of different compositions and numbers per week. Each week, these cells will be creating one game. For those of you who are keeping count, this means we might end up creating more than six games over the course of this experiment. But, we’re committed to releasing and selling only games of quality. Some of us might not have a game we’re happy with at the end of a week, and that’s ok. We don’t want to kill ourselves working too hard, and we don’t want to release games that we’re not happy with.
At the end of each week, we’ll release all the games we see fit to. These games will be released for free on web, and will be submitted to mobile stores for a premium price. So, about halfway through the next week these games will go live for a price of around $1–2.
At the end of our 6 week experiment, we’ll also merge all our games together into one mega-package, and release this for a suitable price. Exactly how many games will be in this bundle, the way to purchase it and the final price point are still a bit up in the air, but rest assured it’ll be great value, and will contain a number of awesome, experiential and compelling games.
Testing New Products
It’s no coincidence that we released all of our current set of games just before or just after PAX. We had always planned to release, before regrouping and shaking it up with an experiment. We want to find a game that we love creating, and one that has a good reception with our audience. That’s one of the major reasons that we’re taking this step.
By creating at least 6 games, we hope to find one which we think has potential to be developed further. At the end of this process, we’ll either have a clear project ahead of us to work on, or more information about where that project might be. Thomas Edison put it best:
I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 things which do not work.
Since we will be bundling our games at the end of the 6 weeks, we’ve also decided to have our games be somewhat unified in terms of theme. We’re all pretty keen to create smaller games that tell emotional vignettes. These will vary in the kinds of emotions that they attempt to make the player feel, but they’ll be united in that they’ll all have some kind of emotional connection. These are the kinds of games that leave a mark with the player, and these are the kinds of games we’d like to create (for now at least).
We’ve had a bit of an interesting path to becoming a studio. We started as a group of hobbyist game developers, and although we had individually worked as software engineers with regular industry practices, this didn’t translate that well to our relative newness to professional game development.
In practice, this means that although we were able to release a number of quality games over the past few months, we didn’t have great practices of working in a team. In part, this is what this experiment is trying to tackle. By mixing up the teams that we’re working in, calling shots in terms of financial targets & target markets, as well as rigorously questioning our assumptions and practices, we hope that we’ll emerge on the other side of this a stronger, better and more cohesive studio.
In an effort to maximise the benefit of this learning, we’ll be documenting a lot of our process. At the end of each week, you can expect to see blog posts covering the processes and mini-experiments that we’re conducting with each game. This will also give insight into financial data, analytics and projections, so you can get all the juicy knowledge that we’re getting as we go.
We hope that you’ll engage with us on this journey. Tell us if some of our games over these next 6 weeks suck. One of the reasons we’re calling this shot so publicly is because we want to engage with you. We want you to keep us honest, and we want your opinions on how this goes.
We’re excited to take this journey, and hope you’re excited to take it along with us,